KARACHI: A team of experts led by the Vice-Chancellor of the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Prof Mohammad Saeed Quraishy, analyzed the virus sequence from a locally infected patient’s body (host).
Experts say that determining the sequence is a remarkable step, which in turn will help in the development of a vaccine as well as possible treatment modalities. This is a very early yet critical phase of the research, and more steps are, however, to follow.
The DUHS lab is one of the first labs in the country to introduce coronavirus PCR testing. The fully equipped modern (BSL-3) virology lab at the DUHS was used to isolate the RNA from the sample, and the presence of virus was confirmed using PCR. The virus was transmitted to the boy locally, but research shows that this virus came from Saudi Arabia and infected 15 patients of the same family, indicating that the local spread of this virus is very fast. The genome sequence revealed that the sequence of this virus is slightly different from the Wuhan virus as it displayed a few mutations.
This virus originated in China and came to Pakistan via Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it is to be noted that this is just one of the invested cases, and while we are in the process of analyzing many other samples that have been transmitted from other countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, the UK, the US, etc.
The DUHS’s fully equipped lab has conducted hundreds of coronavirus tests free of cost, and co. This research study is in its initial stages, and the sequencing was done with the cooperation of the ICCBS, University of Karachi.